Theory of Experimental Inference

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Abstract

THE first duty of a reviewer is to say what his book is about ; but that is not easy here. The title suggests to a British reader that the work will be cognate with that of Harold Jeffreys and with that of Harold Jeffreys and with the later writings of Bertrand Russell. But neither of writers is mentioned, nor does the author show any signs of being aware of their existence. Again,in his preface the author says that "we are making the much stronger claim" (and it is, indeed, a startling claim) "that the science of ethics (like all the principal branches of science) is basic to the meaning of any question that the experimental scientist raises". But I have not found a word in the book concerned with what is called ethics by the plain man ; it seems to be taken for granted that all problems of value are ethical, so that there is no distinction between the good, on one hand, and the true or the beautiful, on the other. The author's thesis is then still startling ; for experimental facts have often been distinguished from other things on the ground that they are free from the differences of opinion that attend all judgments of value. And it is still not immediately clear how his discussion bears on his thesis.

Theory of Experimental Inference

By C. West Churchman. Pp. xi + 292. (New York: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan and CO. Ltd.; 1948. 21s. net.

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CAMPBELL, N. Theory of Experimental Inference. Nature 163, 784–785 (1949) doi:10.1038/163784b0

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